NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In addition to high schools, gyms and fitness classes are opening Monday in the city.
CBS2’s Lisa Rozner spoke to gym owners in the Flatiron District on Sunday about what they’re doing to prepare.
Gyms have been open for several months, but fitness classes had been off limits. But to begin the new work week, studios can hold classes at 33% capacity.
To attend a class, participants must undergo a health screening at check-in and provide contact information for contact tracing.
“We really worked at lightning pace to get over 60 classes a week to start,” said Johnny de Triquet, studio manager of Life Time.
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Studios had less than a week to prepare. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement last Wednesday, a day after the Boutique Fitness Alliance rallied for a reopening.
Amanda Freeman founded the group and is CEO of SLT, which is known for its intense form of pilates.
“I do think it’ll take some time to really fill the classes because this information about us being open hasn’t fully gotten out there,” Freeman said.
In her New York City studios there will be more than double the time between classes — 25 minutes — for cleaning.
The owners at Bode Yoga on the Upper East Side said they are happy to reopen, but are ready to keep classes smaller than the 33% rule, to a max of 12 people.
This is welcome news for instructors who have been hit hard financially by the coronavirus pandemic. For the last year, they’ve only been allowed to offer private sessions.
“It feels excited to be back. People come here with happy energy. They feel good. They’re excited to go back to the classroom,” Bode Yoga studio manager Guadalupe Mora Sanchez said.
“I have been practicing at home during the close-down,” customer Irena Mernik added. “I cannot even tell you about the excitement and the gratitude that I am feeling.”
For some studios, the reopening announcement came too late.
Title Boxing Club in Hell’s Kitchen posted that “The final bell has rung” and that “The debt was too great to overcome, regardless if we could open today.”
Back at Bode Yoga, Mernik said being able to share the studio with others brings much needed mental peace in the chaos of the pandemic.
“I feel safer practicing Bikram original hot yoga rather than not practicing it at all,” Mernik said. “Community is important. With more people in the room, you establish a synergy that helps you to keep moving as one.”
Another business, the studio DanceBody, called Monday a time to “celebrate the reopening … by #socialdisdancing … in real life.”